Reviews of Peer-Reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

We give you the scuttlebutt on academic journals—aiding you in selecting the right journal for publication—in reviews that are sometimes snarky, sometimes lengthy, always helpful. Written by Princeton University graduate students and Wendy Laura Belcher.

Callaloo: A Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters

For those interested in publishing articles that creatively and/or critically engage with the work of African Americans and peoples of African descent throughout the African Diaspora. Citing DuBois would appear to be obligatory.

Callaloo is a journal of and on the literature, art, culture, and criticism of Africa and the African diaspora. For scholars, the journal offers a host of ways to publish, from journal articles to book reviews and annotated bibliographies.

Journal articles tend to fall into one of three categories of close reading: close readings of a single text (in relation to a writer’s larger corpus of work), close readings comparing one or more texts, and interrupting theoretical views through a close reading of a text/person through another framework.

Every article, regardless of their chosen format, engaged with the larger figures in Black Studies, namely figures like DuBois (literally just about every article engages with DuBois, even if only to obliquely reference him), Fanon, and Césaire. Fewer found it necessary to engage with just as important figures like Sylvia Wynter and Hortense Spillers.

Geographically, there is a heavy focus on North America, Africa, and the Caribbean, but less so on the African diaspora of South America and Cuba, and even less on the African diaspora of the Pacific (including East Asia, Australia, etc.).

General subjects covered include: gender, sexuality, mourning, death, postcolonial theory, theories of the Black Atlantic, “blackness”, literature and media, etc.

Book reviews (of which there are options for poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and academic texts) are short pieces that are less about glowing applause for or absolute crushing of a particular text and more about thinking through the parameters of the text (and the author’s work) and critically addressing what is absent/missing/not studied in-depth enough.

For those interested in the more creative aspects of the journal, poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and art are accepted and published in every issue of the journal. In general, the journal is more heavily weighed towards the creative work (rather than critical), although this is only in terms of number of creative works published, rather than the number of pages actually afforded to each. The creative work published in Callaloo will on occasion become the subject of critical discussion in some of the journal articles published. Of note: some of the Contributing and Advisory Editors include literary figures like Fred D’Aguiar, Edwidge Danticat, and Jamaica Kincaid.

Unfortunately, Callaloo does not have a timely review process. In a recent case, the journal sat on an article for two years, despite the author inquiring politely all along about the status of the article. Further, the rejection came a year after the journal received the one ad negative review, which was attached to the rejection despite being particularly harsh.

Useful for Submission

Word Count: 10,000 (excluding the title page, abstract, biographical information, and references. Book reviews are 1,500 or 2,500 for two texts.)

Issues per year: 5 (Winter, Spring, Summer, Art, Fall)

Current volume number: 39.3 Summer 2016

Articles per year: ~10-30 poetry, ~5 fiction, ~3 creative non-fiction, ~1 art, ~2 interviews, ~3 non-fiction, ~2-10 articles, ~3-10 book reviews

Citation style: MLA, 3rd edition

Abstract length (if required): N/A

Upcoming special issues (if available): Elegy (guest editor: Joshua Bennett)

Relevant Editors: Editor | Charles Henry Powell (1976-ongoing); Managing Editor | Kelley A. Robbins

About Wendy Belcher

Associate Professor, Princeton University, Department of Comparative Literature and the Center for African American Studies. Author of Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success. Instructor of Deep Reading Journals as Publishing Praxis.


This entry was posted on June 13, 2015 in African American Journals, Humanities Journals, Literary Studies Journals.